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Our 2016 Resolution: Think Better

January 22, 2016

The New Year always brings new resolutions and goals. At McWaters, we’re always striving to think better about how we can help you use your space to meet those goals.

More and more research is coming out to suggest that your space has a major impact on your ability to focus and be productive. We kicked off our new year by reading some recently published research by Steelcase that outlined the three modes of brain activity—focus, regeneration and inspiration, and activation. We want to utilize what we know about those brain modes to help you think better about your space and how it affects you.

The Focus Mode

We all know how satisfying it is to find ourselves in a deep focus. The state where you're so deeply engrossed in your task that when you finally look up, you're shocked to see how much time has gone by. When you're that hyper-focused on a task, your brain is using a lot of energy. Any distractions around you cause you switch your attention and spend even more energy trying to refocus. Think about it like biking up a steep hill. It takes a lot of energy just to keep moving. Now say you have to stop at a stoplight. Once you try to get started again, it's hard to work up that momentum and now you suddenly realize how tired your muscles are from the initial climb. It's the same with your brain. When those distractions become too frequent, you'll start to get stressed and instead of being productive you end up just feeling guilty and pessimistic about your task. Here's how to help cut down on distractions and keep that focus:

  • Get enough sleep. Research suggests that adequate sleep has an effect on our waking hours--including our ability to focus. 
  • Turn off your phone. According to a PEW study, chances are you check your phone hourly--even if you think you never do. Try keeping it in your bag, in a desk drawer, or just generally out of sight. 
  • Use your space to minimize distractions.  The Brody WorkLounge is a great tool to do this because it creates a cocoon-like setting that cuts down on visual and audio distractions, while making you feel in control and psychologically secure. 
  • Block out the noise. Tools like the Noisli app help block out distractions by creating soothing background noises.

The Regeneration and Inspiration Mode

Your brain can only handle intense focus for so long. Eventually it'll need a break to wander. That's not time wasted. When you start to daydream, your brain is actually working to make new connections instead of focusing on what you already know. We've all been struck by a brilliant idea in the shower or driving home from work. That's because we're letting our mind wander and create an "Aha!" moment. Here are some tips on how to harness the regeneration and inspiration mode:


  • Organize your space. The flow of your space can make it easier for you to move around and find ways to recharge. McWaters architectural solutions can help create the best space for your need. 
  • Give an outlet for creativity. Steelcases' Campfire Paper Tables feature a stack of paper on the table top. You can use that area to doodle as a way to recharge or as a place to take notes while having a casual meeting. 
  • Have a flexible workspace. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery or a more comfortable place to finish a task. The Thread-portal power source allow you to take a break and work in an area that's more relaxing.
  • Provide comfortable areas. Visalia Lounge Chairs can provide a comfortable place to socialize and hold meetings. 

The Activation Mode

Have you heard that multi-tasking doesn't work? That's not entirely true. When  two tasks are coming from different parts of your bring, for example walking (physical) and talking (verbal) you can actually multitask efficiently. And that's good news. Physical activity has also been found to boost your ability to pay attention. 


  • Get walking. A recent study in Computers in Human Behavior found that students who read something at a treadmill desk were 34.9 percent more likely to answer a question about it correctly than students who were sitting. Hold walking meetings or walk while you work on a Walkstation
  • Take meetings out of the conference room. ēno interactive whiteboards are digitally connected and can give you a chance to get away from your computer and brainstorm with your colleagues. 
  • Stand up. Ology desks are height adjustable, which means you have the option to switch between sitting and standing. Not to mention, you can adjust your desk to suit your body, not your coworkers. 
  • Let there be light. Access to natural light helps get your brain into the activation state. Our architectural solutions can help you set up your space to maximize natural light. 
  • Get fidgeting. By providing a slight unstable chair, like the Bouy chair, you're encouraging yourself to keep moving, swiveling, and balancing throughout the day. 

If you want more information on how McWaters can help you think better in your office, just contact us and we’ll be happy to walk you through your options. 



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